The city's dining out scene has finally re-opened, and with it, a handful of new eateries.
Last week restaurants, museums and theatres in New York were finally allowed to re-open at full capacity after a long hiatus. While mask-wearing and social distancing will continue, it will have come as a huge relief for the beleaguered F&B industry, and the patrons who were missing their usual dining out fix.
We look at five of the newly-opened eateries to try now that lockdown has lifted.
A seafood-centric restaurant, from the world-renowned chef, just opened in One Vanderbilt - the impressive Midtown skyscraper by Grand Central Terminal. The 120-cover restaurant - located on the second floor of the 77-story building - has been designed by Isay Weinfeld, the Brazilian architect who oversaw the relocated Four Seasons and features a plethora of greenery, including trees, several private dining rooms, in an indoor garden area with a chef's table; in the bar - the ceiling soars to a height of 75 feet. Named after a famed palace of haute cuisine that opened in 1941 during World War II, that closed in the '70s. It has a “French name but it’s not a French restaurant,” according to Boulud (who’s flagship and eponymous name restaurant Daniel boasts two Michelin stars) who's also planning to open an outpost of his cafe Épicerie Boulud on the ground floor of the building. Expect a seasonal menu focused on seafood and vegetables “from Maine to Maryland,” along with some simple grilled and rotisserie dishes.
This upscale Indian restaurant is a collaboration with restauranteur David Rabin and the actress Priyanka Chopra and helmed by chef Hari Nayak, one of the consultant chefs for popular Dubai restaurants Masti, Moombai & Co and Bombay Bungalow. Set within the heart of New York City, Sona's stunning interiors evoke the Art Deco period of Mumbai in the 1930s - overseen by interior designer and stylist Melissa Bowers, the former design director for the Miami Beach Faena District. Think gilded columns, Thonet-style chairs and artwork by Indian artist Rajan Krishnan. The menu covers the subcontinent and beyond with dishes like tandoor roasted beets, Malvani prawn curry, Malabar chicken biryani, and coal-roasted oysters spiked with chile, garlic and lime.
After nearly 14 years in the East Village, Momofuku Ssäm Bar - one of Chang’s earliest restaurants – has reopened in the South Street Seaport space that was previously home to Wayō cocktail bar. The kitchen sees Chef Eunjo Park, previously of Momofuku Kāwi, at the helm with a New York Korean menu featuring smaller dishes like white pepper wings and sweet-and-sour ribs, as well as larger items like a soy-marinated salmon kimbap, rice cakes, and a sizzling skirt steak ssäm. The space was designed in partnership with Design Agency (Majordōmo, Kōjin, Kāwi) and is anchored by a 27-seat wraparound bar and standing counter space. On one side of the bar, a wall of windows overlooks the East River and there's also communal seating with views available on the 50-seat patio.
A plant-forward Mexican spot with an entirely meat-free menu. Justin Bazdarich of Speedy Romeo and Oxomoco fame has opened a sequel to his Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant. Led by chef de cuisine Alan Delgado, an El Paso native who worked at acclaimed modern Mexican restaurant Comedor in Austin, Xilonen will serve only vegan and vegetarian Mexican fare with an entirely meat-free menu with dishes such as: masa pancake with maple syrup and salted butter; braised carrot tostada with navy beans, carrot top salsa verde and spiced maple; and churros with Oaxacan chocolate. The restaurant - located at 905 Lorimer Street in Greenpoint, at the corner of Nassau Avenue - has been inspired by Bazdarich’s desire to create a more environmentally sustainable restaurant. The dining room is decorated with desert plants and hand-woven textiles in purple, yellow and orange that echo the colors of corn - apt as the name honors the Aztec goddess of young maize.
Iris explores Aegean cuisine viewed through Fraser’s signature veg-centric vision, drawing upon his Greek heritage and admiration for Turkish cuisine. The menu opens with a selection of mezze, raw & marinated fish and Turkish-style flatbreads with dips - and moves on to a selection of sharing dishes served family-style, with desserts served tableside alongside an ouzo and raki service. The interiors take inspiration from the building’s mid-century glamour and the restaurant’s vision of being a “view from the ocean” of the Aegean. The sleek and luxuriously appointed dining room features hand carved woodwork, plenty of polished chrome and marble tables.